How to Hack Ikea Magazine Boxes

Living in a small house, I have to find storage wherever I can.  There is one built in shelf in my hall that I use for storage. I have got all kinds of goodies hiding in those gray Ikea Kvarnvik boxes: wrapping paper, ribbon, the glue gun, essential oils and more. 

But this is how I updated some Ikea Knuff magazine file boxes and I'm thrilled with how they turned out. Inside of them, I keep a few of my favorite magazines, a couple books on my reading list and a backup supply of an obsession of Leuchtturm 1917 notebooks.

Let's dive into how I hacked these into cute shabby holders. Some of the supplies are affiliate links. I'm supposed to tell you that...just so you know, it doesn't cost you any extra.


Check Fit

Before you get going, make sure the Knuff magazine boxes are going to fit on your shelves. Whew--good thing I checked, mine barely fit.


Give the magazine boxes a little sanding with a fine sandpaper. They may be a tad rough here and there. Sand just enough to get the baby splinters and the rough edges off. You don’t need to go crazy.


Apply a couple coats of chalk paint. I picked this one up at my local Walmart. Make sure you let the paint dry between coats.


Allow the paint to dry completely. Using fine sandpaper, begin to sand off the paint exposing a little bit of the natural wood here and there. Be sure to sand around the edges. This helps give it a time worn look. Keep going until you find the look you like.

Paint the Numbers

Hop onto your computer and print out your numbers. How cute would it be to use alphabet letters in a nursery or initials in a shared children’s bedroom? Make them your own. Choose a font you like and play around with the size. Print the numbers, then cut them out. Did you spy that I also hacked an Ikea Skogsta box?

With a pencil, lightly trace around the numbers, then fill in with craft paint with using a small paintbrush. Allow paint to completely dry.

Add the handles

Here is the tricky part I didn’t take pictures of before I started. Because the file box has a finger hole, you will need to cover this up and give something for the drawer pull to grab onto.

I just happen to have some little cardboard gift tags that were already painted black on one side. A small piece of chipboard would work great here as well. Put a couple little dots of glue or adhesive around the outside of it and cover the finger hole from the inside. You don't even need to let it dry because when you attach the handle, it will pull the chipboard against the file box.

Because the file boxes are fairly thin, I did not pre-drill holes for the handles. I just lightly traced where they would be so I could see where to begin the screw from the back of the box. I used these handles and you can see that they almost cover the finger hole.

If you decide to make these, share how you are going to use them.